Community Radio for Urban Poor in Participatory Governance
Janaagraha sees the opportunities offered by radio to enhance its performance in governance through economically viable means. Community radio stations are expected to produce at least 50% of their programmes locally, to the extent possible in the local language or dialect. While the focus is on developmental programming, there is no explicit ban on entertainment. Centralized one-way broadcasting at various levels of aggregation has limited scope to serve the goals of development, especially in a society characterised by pluralism and diversity, as is the case in India. While private radio channels that obtain licenses focus on commercial benefit (more entertainment, less infotainment and minimal public participation), state-run radio channels like All India Radio ignore city issues and have not been able to create a platform that involves the public and brings to light the various nuances of the centralised system. Through this radio, the Janaagraha Center for Citizenship and Democracy wishes to address the gap between urban governance and the residents of the city, with specific focus on the urban poor. It is looking to bring to light the issue of governance in the city. This entails broadcasting corporation and municipal proceedings, and having open discussions on civic issues that affect urban people, and specifically the urban poor. The project aims to provide education, entertainment and to connect people (through participatory or circular communication), organizations and communities, and ultimately, the government and public service agencies. The democratic, dialogical and participatory process of community radio will help in raising consciousness and understanding of the community, its social reality, problems and solutions, among its regulators.